It’s Tournament Time!


Every year when the NCAA announces its basketball tournament bracket, the first thought that goes through my head is: And these are the idiots you want determining a college football playoff???

I won’t go into too much analysis here (if you really want to know about college football, check out http://frankthetank.wordpress.com/; he is the absolute man when it comes to conference expansion/realignment and the BCS), but I will say this: Utah State University had an RPI of 16, was ranked 17th in the Pomeroy computer rankings and 21st in Sagarin, and they wound up with a 12 seed.  That means after reviewing all the objective data that said USU was roughly 20th in the nation, they ranked them about 48.  And you think that wouldn’t happen with a football playoff?  You think some top 4 or 8 team wouldn’t get screwed senseless by the braintrust in Indianapolis?  I’m not saying the BCS is perfect, but there’s no way you can argue it’s worse than a selection committee of empty suits from the NCAA.

But despite all that, NCAA Tournament time is one of my favorite times of the year.  Here’s a few other random thoughts on this year’s bracket:

  –I’ve already ranted about Utah State getting hosed, but how about Kansas State?  The Wildcats earned themselves a 5 seed, which means they’re supposed to get to face a 12 seed that isn’t very good.  Instead, they get a very pissed off Utah State team that is ranked higher than them in both the major computer ratings.  Congrats on a great season, K-State, your reward is a first round game in which you will most likely be an underdog.

  –Every time people talk about expanding the tournament someone always acts like more teams will cause less controversy over who got left out.  Well guess what?  We expanded from 65 to 68 teams this year and there’s more bitching about bubble teams getting shafted than ever!  Someday soon they will expand to 96 teams and I guarantee somebody will still be crying about getting left out.  If we’d only gotten that 22 seed we deserved we could have gone all the way to the Final Four!

  —I’m an Illinois alum, and though I no longer cheer for the mascot-less Illini (or the Fightin Block I’s, if you prefer) I have so many friends and family that are still loyal that I pay attention by default.  I’ve never been a fan of Coach Bruce Weber, but I actually feel pretty bad for him this year.  He could potentially face two of his predecessors in the opening weekend.  This is a total no-win for him.  He’s already on the hot seat, and a first round loss to Lon Kruger and the UNLV Rebels will not make his seat any less hot.  Illini fans will remember how much they liked Kruger and how good a coach he was (and how he didn’t whine like a little girl all the time).  If Weber manages to get past UNLV, he will most likely get trounced by the man he replaced, Bill Self and his Kansas Jayhawks.  Most Illini fans despise Self for leaving Illinois, and a humiliating loss to him will again make the calls for Weber’s head even louder.  I guess the silver lining is, if Illinois can somehow steal two wins and make the Sweet 16, Weber might just get a lifetime contract extension!

  –I’m tired of Gonzaga.  They had a great run from 1999 to 2001 (two Sweet 16s and an Elite 8).  But since then they’ve gone 8-9 in the tournament.  And yet people always talk like they’re right up there with the big boys.  You want a real mid-major that’s making waves today, not a decade ago?  Xavier.  The Musketeers are 10-6 since 2006, with two Elite 8’s and two more Sweet 16’s.  This isn’t their best team by any stretch, so I’m not predicting a Final Four or anything, but I honestly can’t remember when they’ve laid an egg in the tourney either.

  –Wisconsin should have been left out of the tournament.  I don’t care about “body of work,” I don’t care about their 23 wins.  They scored 33 fucking points in their last game!  I propose a new rule: if at any point in the season you fail to score 40 points, you are placed on probation until you score 100 points in a game.  Who’s with me?

  –Look for BYU to go out early.  Since losing Brandon Davies for banging his girlfriend, the Cougars are only 3-2, with two 18-point losses.  All world superstar Jimmer Fredette is the best player in America, but he did not sit for single minute in three games at the Mountain West tournament.  He’s shot over 50% just once in the past 13 games.  He’s running on fumes and the tank is going to go dry very soon.  They shouldn’t have much trouble with lowly Wofford, but picking them to go much further than that is risky.

I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts before this week is over, but right now my mind is still mush from my Vegas trip.

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1 Comment

  1. Falling under the category of “You don’t know shit,” pretty much every one of my predictions came up wrong. Shows how much I follow college basketball.

    But in my defense, I did not actually predict a Utah State victory or a Wisconsin defeat, I just sort of implied it. And while I didn’t exactly guarantee a Xavier run into the tourney, I did hype them as the premiere mid-major in the nation.

    And I might, just might, have let my pathological hatred for BYU cloud my judgment. Jimmer Fredette is still the best college player in America, I should have known he could will them to a Sweet 16. Let’s just hope he’s out of gas and magic this week.


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